Confession: I have no self-control. So when told about an app that might give me access to shamelessly stalk any and all of my exes with the false pretense of gaining insight into their lives (sans me), naturally I jumped at the opportunity. What transpired was a visceral reaction to one of the most jaw-dropping, stomach-curling, rosacea-inducing, sad Internet moments of my adult life. "Lulu: First-ever App For Girls," intended as a forum where women can "share insights on love and life," is a virtual burn book -- a place where the good can be commended, the bad reprimanded and the ugly outed. In reality, Lulu is simply an unacceptable invasion of privacy, a place where women believe they are helping other women with a user-generated reference guide to dating, but in fact are just perpetuating pain for the very women they intend to protect.
Here's how Lulu works: Through Facebook, you can anonymously review any and all of your male friends in the following categories: appearance, humor, manners, sex, first kiss, ambition, and commitment. Women contribute valid observations -- rendered, of course, in hashtags. Then Lulu churns out a rating. The site does not discriminate, which means that college-aged dating newbies making all the same mistakes we once did are branded with titles such as #F**kedMeChuckedMe. If this doesn't seem bad enough, committed faithfuls can be assessed by the ghosts of girlfriends past with phrases like #ForgotMyBirthday and thrown into the same pool as bad boys, serial daters and dumpers, aka #TotalF*ckingDickhead #IncapableOfCommitment. This is... #WildlyOffensive.
Let's break it down, shall we? If you're single, what is the first thing you do when you sign onto Lulu? FIND YOUR EX, then FIND YOUR NEXT, correct? Step one: opening the ex-files. I start in chronological order (of course) because my Type A, obsessive personality shines through even while experimenting on the World Wide Web. Instinctively, I knew my first ex-boyfriends would hurt less than my last, so I started there. A form of calculated self-protection, if you will. Reading about my high school and college boyfriends' dalliances made me feel one poignant emotion: RE-MAD.
Re-Mad (adj): The ungainly process of feeling or showing anger all over again.
Now I'm reading about my ex-exes. I don't giggle, smile or even wince that someone thought one #ShouldHaveComeWithAWarning and another was described as #TooCoolForSchool with #PornEducated #SexMoves. I felt deeply saddened that good men who treated me wonderfully for years were reduced to such unoriginal and mean-spirited hashtags. Here I am searching dates and times of when my ex-ex-ex may or may not have slept with girls post our breakup, fuming at the prospect of someone I cared about with someone else. It's crazy-making. It's painful. Not funny. Not fun. I found myself "re-mad" about things I had let go years ago.
Next stop: most recent ex-boyfriend. Are any 26-year-olds out there having easy breakups? If so, please call me. I'd like to hear about them. Real life happens and break ups revolve around I love yous and marriage and children and rent and career failures and successes... all of these breakups were difficult. Some of them even worse than difficult. But that is my cross to bear, and I'll tell you what does not alleviate the pain of a failed relationship: knowing that three months ago a man I loved slept with a one-night stand who called his #LipsKissable, his demeanor #ManChild and his commitment level "4." Thanks, lady. I knew that. But now, I just want to know who the hell you are and how I can track you down and physically assault you. I certainly feel no sense of kinship here.
On to the next (guy I've been dating). So far, he's been lovely. Smart, funny, kind. No issues as of yet, but why would there be... unless... I could track down a list of every girl he's dated to see if he has ever done anything to piss any of them off?! Then we'd have loads to fight about! Fab! Forget about timing and chemistry and if his grandfather died the night before he went out with "Anonymous Reviewer 24" who called him #Absent and #NotPresent. Why would that matter?
So by this point, if you're single, Lulu has poured salt in your most recent wounds and deterred you from the nice guy you went out with last night.
Maybe this "app for girls" is better suited for people in relationships? Nope. If you're in a relationship, forget about getting re-mad, prepare for just plain mad. My close friend -- let's call him Andrew -- has been with his girlfriend for two years. Aside from being a loyal, committed boyfriend to her, he has been a tremendously good friend to me. Not to mention, he's just a really great guy. Last night, after having read the NYT article he asked his girlfriend to look him up on this app. Curiosity killed the cat, man. What transpired was hours of fighting and questioning. If it ain't broke, don't break it apart into a million pieces by creating a forum where other girls can talk about sex with your boyfriend!
Let's talk about feminism, ladies. Let's talk about sisterhood. Support. Protection. If this was a website geared toward men, we would die. All of us. Collectively. Imagine if everyone we ever dated, kissed, slept with or exchanged I love you's with could do this to us: #fartsinbed #likestohavesexonherperiod #wantstokisstoomuch. How do we expect respect? How do we demand respect if this is how we behave? We don't deserve it.
Lulu gives women the illusion of control, but the only thing I can glean from this is the opposite. Desperation for control has driven women to act like the worst version of themselves. Let's be better before they get us back.
This story appears in Issue 78 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Dec. 6in the iTunes App store.